So it’s only fitting, right? My last race as an Upper West Sider actually taking place on the Upper West Side…Riverside Park, to be exact!! So yeah, I was definitely looking forward to the 2nd edition of the Sunset and Suds 5K. First off-many thanks to Urban Athletics and the New York Harriers for putting this race on again! I had a great time last year and was just looking forward to a fun night this year. Basically, I was “training through” this race, not tapered or anything and pretty much just looked at it as the opportunity to get a hard run in, and then enjoy the post-party with friends on a nice evening-and I can say the event lived up to the expectations.
Oh and can I just say I loved having a bib that had a single-digit number on it? Never mind that was because I registered early, not because of my speed (or lack of it.) I’m taking it, and that bib is definitely getting saved 🙂
So as I wanted to pad my mileage a little for the evening (plus get my legs warmed up enough so that they can run fast from the start) I ran about 2.5 miles in Riverside Park and got to the race area with enough time to drop off my bag, say hi to a few peeps, stretch a little and then head to the start line-ahhh no need for corrals or to elbow for position! Was actually pretty laid back. Coach JM made a few announcements to the racers, and pretty soon we were off!!
So went out hard, but not too crazy hard…didn’t want to make the same mistake I made last year and leave it all in the first mile. Was mostly flat, but there was a hill near the turnaround in this mile…hmmm I didn’t remember this last year! I think we turned around before then…there’s the .3 miles that was missing from last year’s race. Anyway, approaching mile 1, I really had no concept of my pace as I wasn’t looking at my watch during the mile…for all I know I could have been sub-7, or I could have been 7:40!! Well as it turned out-7:14…which I felt got me off to a good start.
So I tried to keep that momentum up in the 2nd mile. However, my momentum was thrown by…you guessed it…a biker. Yep, a biker was trying to cross the race course and unfortunately there wasn’t any race marshalls right there directing traffic. And of course because I seem to have a sign on me that says “bikers, come hit me” of course he rode right in my direction and I had to swerve to avoid it…which made me lose a few seconds there and seemed to break my rhythm for that mile (well that and the 2nd hill of the course.) Mile 2 was 7:29…arrrgghhh.
Once again, I found myself in “survival mode” for mile 3, meaning just try and hold on and not get any slower, suck it up for 1 more mile or so. Taking that hill that we did in mile 1 for the 2nd time was a bitch, but after that I knew the worst was over and that it was just a straightaway to the finish. I tried to use that to my advantage to pick up the pace…I tried to think back to those 1200s I did the week before, if I could push that hard then, no reason why I can’t do it now! I was passing a coupla people and gaining on others so I guess it worked.
As I was approaching the mile 3 marker (7:27-I took a split but didn’t look at the watch til after) I heard the people who were calling out the cumulative time saying “22:xx”…so I know I was really gonna have to burn rubber for that last .1 mile in order to get under 23 minutes. (yeah, I guess that was the loose time goal for the night) So I kicked it into overdrive…and a guy who was ahead of me even let me pass him and encouraged me to finish strong…wow, you never see that!! The last .1 took 38 seconds…wowza!! Final time 22:48, 7:21 pace.
Hard work is done, time for fun!! We got our commemorative pint glasses as we crossed the finish, and I wasted no time in heading to the lower level of the Hudson Beach Cafe to fill that baby up with free “suds” 🙂 I hung out downstairs and mingled a bit (met the owner of nycruns.com!) After getting beer #2, me and a few UA peeps headed upstairs to get some food and chill out and just enjoy the evening. All in all, it was a nice night, an approprate way to say “farewell, UWS.”
And as for the race, I felt the organizers did a great job and actually did improve on things from last year-as the course was accurately measured and there was post-race beer flowing for hours (I was able to get a 3rd and 4th refill!) Only thing I wish was that there were more course marshalls to keep traffic off the course, but I know that may be a manpower issue and possibly there may not have been enough volunteers (hell, even in NYRR races with their scores of volunteers they cant even keep traffic off the race course sometimes-like at Club Champs a few weeks back)
And for once, I am not bitching about my race 😛 Like I said before, I wasn’t tapered or anything and I wasn’t going into this as a goal race or anything like that. Only thing I wish had been different was mile 2 but that was something out of my control. I do feel my pacing in short races needs work…like I have way too much left in the tank at the end (in this case, the last .1 mile) But that’s not on the short list right now…you all know what is 🙂
And I’m looking forward to the 3rd edition of the Sunset and Suds 5K next year 😉